No. 636 April Term, 1979, Appeal from Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Allegheny County at No. GD-76-25806.
Donald P. Monti, Pittsburgh, for appellants.
Michael W. Burns, Pittsburgh, for appellees.
Cavanaugh, Hoffman and Van der Voort, JJ.
[ 282 Pa. Super. Page 38]
This is an appeal from the trial court's refusal to grant a new trial on the ground of inadequacy of the verdict. Appellant
[ 282 Pa. Super. Page 39]
Jane Mueller received personal injuries in a motor vehicle collision which occurred on May 27, 1977 in Hampton Township, Allegheny County. Since the medical and wage losses were covered by no-fault insurance, and items of property damage and expenses were uncontested,*fn1 the sole issue in dispute before the jury was the issue of pain and suffering consequent upon her injuries. The jury returned a verdict in the amount of $3,000.00 for Jane Mueller and $200.00 for her husband, Bernard Mueller for loss of consortium. Since the verdict for Mrs. Mueller included stipulated or uncontested damages in the amount of $2,337.00, the award for pain and suffering amounted to $663.00. At trial the attorney for the appellee made a concession of liability and therefore the evidence before the jury related only to the injuries suffered by Mrs. Mueller. The evidence consisted of the testimony of Mr. and Mrs. Mueller and the videotape depositions of the appellant's physicians, Doctors Sangrujee and Schein. There was substantially no dispute as to the injuries suffered. Mrs. Mueller testified that at the time of the accident she was thrown up against the windshield of her car, that she "went out" and then when she came to she realized that blood was running over her clothes. Her husband came upon the scene and with the assistance of a police officer freed her ankle which was wedged between the clutch and brake of the car. Mrs. Mueller was taken to North Hills Passavant Hospital where she spent three days.
Doctor Sangrujee, an orthopedic surgeon, testified that he diagnosed an intra-articular fracture of the median malleolus of the left ankle, cerebral concussion and contusion of the knees. He applied a nonwalking cast to the left leg and admitted the patient for observation. He stated that he removed a second cast on July 9th, but that the patient was still disabled from her work for two months thereafter.
[ 282 Pa. Super. Page 40]
Appellant testified as to her pain, aches and soreness. She stated that she had an area of her forehead from which was gouged out half of her left eyebrow. She was out of work from her job as a waitress from the day of the accident, May 27, until September 20, 1976. When the cast was removed, Mrs. Mueller submitted to surgery for a fractured nose which she also suffered in the accident. The procedure was to realign the nasal bones. This is done by making an incision, rebreaking the bones and repositioning them. This cosmetic surgery was performed by Doctor Schein, again, during a five-day admission to North Hills Passavant Hospital. Her eyebrow grew back, but she stated that she still has a slight scar on her forehead. The bandage from the nose operation remained in place for six weeks post operative.
The standard for determining if a verdict is inadequate so as to merit a new trial has been stated by our courts:
Morris v. Peckyno, 202 Pa. Super. 490, 492, 198 A.2d 396, 397 (1964). See also Rhoades v. Wolf, 207 Pa. Super. 104, 215 A.2d 332 (1965); Poltorak v. Sandy, 236 Pa. Super. 355, ...